HuffPo Fmr Product Head on Product Design (Part 2)
In recent years, tools for reach have completely changed the ways in which people access content. Unlike the early days of online news, no one types a company’s URL into a browser anymore and bookmarks are very rare. As a result, our product design has evolved in a way that is easier to access based on how users are looking for content.
The “search wave” was the first major shift in how people looked for news content or answers to important questions. For example, The Huffington Post made its first “search coup” during the Super Bowl in 2005. We published a story called “what time is the Super Bowl” and it created this massive spike in search traffic. As a result, the entire news industry looked at itself and asked, “why didn’t we think of that?”
Fast-forward to 2015; the social media giants started to play a major role in access to news. In those days, both sides collaborated very well. For example, Facebook and Google had access to much better tech than any traditional media company. They provided amazing solutions for article pages that looked better and loaded faster. Similarly, we showed social media companies how to handle “breaking news” properly and operate as a true news provider.
It was fun while it lasted, but ultimately news organizations started to question how much was gained through this collaboration. While social platforms are great places to hang out, they still don’t have the level of content that we can deliver as news providers. As a result, you’re starting to see a shift in how news outlets are partnering with social platforms to reach more users.
For example, Bloomberg partnered with Twitter to create Tic Toc – a 24/7 streaming content service. On the product design side, we are able to provide instant access to content – while incorporating timely tweets to enhance stories for users. It’s been very successful for Bloomberg – bringing in over 1 million views per day and more than 140,000 followers.
Looking ahead, news outlets will continue to leverage the reach capabilities of social partners to reach new audiences. However, every news outlet is taking control of the experience to put content first – which will always remain a strength that social platforms can’t touch.
About the speaker
Julia Beizer is the Chief Product Officer at Bloomberg media, shaping the organization’s consumer-facing experiences across all platforms and devices. Prior to taking on this role, she was head of product, design, and engineering for HuffPost. Before that, she spent a decade at The Washington Post, working on both the news and product sides of the company. She currently serves on the board of Questback, an insights company, and Boolean Girl, a nonprofit that teaches girls how to code.